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Small Press Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 12 December 2017 Home | SPBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Christmas Shelf Automotive Shelf
Parenting Shelf Education Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Poetry Shelf Christian Studies Shelf Economic Studies Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fiction Shelf
Money/Finance Shelf Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Beer Shelf Activity Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Adventures in the Slavic Kitchen
Igor Klekh, author
Slava I. Yastremski & Michael M. Naydan, translators
Glagoslav Publications
9781784379971, $30.15, HC, 186pp,

Synopsis: "Adventures in the Slavic Kitchen: A Book of Essays with Recipes" is a cultural study of the role food plays in the formation and expression of a nation's character. Author Igor Klekh focuses primarily on the Russian and Ukrainian kitchens but discusses them in the context of international food practices.

Critique: Ably translated into English by the team of Slava I. Yastremski and Michael M. Naydan, "Adventures in the Slavic Kitchen: A Book of Essays with Recipes" by Igor Klekh will have immense and special appeal for academia and non-specialist general readers with an interest in contemporary Russian culinary culture. While unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Adventures in the Slavic Kitchen: A Book of Essays with Recipes" is also available in a paperback edition (9781784379964, $23.55) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Ambushed by America
Sonja Rose Klein
Ambush Publishing
PO Box 192, Barksdale, TX 78828
9780988986329, $15.00, PB, 250pp,

Synopsis: Anyone picking up a copy of "Ambushed by America: More Wit and Wisdom From Sonja Klein" should be prepared for a fun ride and an entertaining read in this new collection of Sonja Klein's rip-roaring adventures. Sonja won the hearts of countless fans with her previous books "Honk If You Married Sonja" (Kindle, $4.99) and "Roundtrip from Texas" (9780988986305, $15.95 PB; $3.99 Kindle). "Ambushed by America is her third and latest collection of essays on life, love, travel, and encounters with the screw-up fairy.

Critique: An absolute 'must' for the legions of Sonja Klein fans, "Ambushed by America" will also serve to introduce this truly ingenious and clever writer to a new generation. "Ambushed by America" is a compendium of wit showcasing timely and timeless observations of a life lived by a singularly unique author, and a roller coaster of a ride from beginning to end. Highly recommended, especially for personal reading lists and community library collections. It should be noted that "Ambushed by America" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Addicted to Americana
Charles Phoenix
Prospect Park Books
9781945551192, $29.95, HC, 176pp,

Synopsis: Raised on a used-car lot, showman, tour guide, food crafter, and author Charles Phoenix was destined to become the Ambassador of Americana. The photo collector, food crafter, and field tripper is famed for his hilarious live show performances and "theme park" tour of downtown Los Angeles. Drawing upon his years of experience and expertise, Charles' "Addicted to Americana: Celebrating Classic & Kitschy American Life & Style" is a riotously colorful book, replete with images drawn from collection of vintage Kodachrome slides, and is a celebration his lifelong quest to unearth the best of classic and kitschy American life and style.

Critique: An inherently fascinating and uniquely informative read from cover to cover, "Addicted to Americana: Celebrating Classic & Kitschy American Life & Style" will prove to be an enduringly fun, popular and appreciated addition to personal reading lists, community, and academic library Americana themed collections.

Fables for Leaders
John Lubans, author
Beatrice Coron, illustrator
Book Baby
9780692909553, $19.99, PB, 220pp,

Synopsis: "Fables for Leaders" is comprised of more than one hundred short stories with personal commentaries by John Lubans of talking animals and trees. Lubans emphasizes the philosophical and ethical aspects in these stories (from across the centuries) to his own on-the-job experiences that include his successes and his failures. He relates them all to our contemporary behavior and decision-making with the specific intention that these fable stories can help in thinking through and solving, in untraditional ways, problems on the job. The stories are enhanced with the inclusion of whimsical illustrations by international artist and paper cutter, Beatrice Coron, who captures the charm of these ancient tales and add to their comprehension and enjoyment. Each individual entry sets forth the original fable followed by Lubans' commentary. Deftly organized into seven chapters the stories are grouped into: Us and Them; Office Politics; The Organization; Problems; Budgeting and Strategic Planning; The Effective Follower; and The Effective Leader.

Critique: A unique and exceptional approach to developing problem solving attitudes and skills, "Fables for Leaders" is impressively well written, organized and presented. Thoroughly 'user friendly' and an inherently fascinating read from cover to cover, "Fables for Leaders" is impressively entertaining, informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, making it unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library collections.

The Christmas Shelf


Biblioasis has just published three 'Ghost Story for Christmas' titles, each one of these short stories is by an accomplished novelist with a total master of the supernatural genre and with a Christmas season theme.

"The Empty House" (9781771961981, $6.95, PB, 58pp) by Algernon Blackwood tells the story of Aunt Julia, an elderly spinster with a mania for psychical research, who has the keys to the haunted house on the square. She invites her nephew to accompany her on a midnight investigation into what really happened a hundred years ago when a servant girl fell to her death. But the house may not be as empty as it seems!

In "The Toll House" (9781771961967, $6.95, PB, 42pp) by W. W. Jacobs, The Toll-House has a long and terrible history as a place of death. But Jack Barnes doesn't believe in spirits. His traveling companions, Messrs. Meagle, Lester, and White, wager that he might be convinced otherwise if they all spend a night together in the house. Four men go in, but will four come out?

"How Fear Departed the Long Gallery" (9781771961943, $6.95, PB, 52pp) by E. F. Benson the appearance of a ghost is no more upsetting than the appearance of the mailman at an ordinary house. Except for the twin toddlers in the Long Gallery. No one would dare be caught in the Long Gallery after dark. But on this quiet and cloudy afternoon, Madge Peveril is feeling rather drowsy.

Each one of these three literary gems that blend the supernatural with the Christmas season is unreservedly recommended, especially for the personal reading lists of ghost story enthusiasts during this most festive of holidays!

The Automotive Shelf

Sane Driving in a Mad World
Robert W. Boxer, MD
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781532010095 $17.95 pbk / $3.99 Kindle

Synopsis: How To Avoid A Crash, Road Rage, Carjackings, And Distractions. Most Automobile Accidents Are Due To Driver Error, Speeding, Tailgating Alcohol, Drugs, Drowsiness, Distractions, And Not Having A Plan To Anticipate And Respond To The Numerous Situations Encountered On The Road, Including Mechanical And Weather Related Emergencies.

Dr. Boxer draws upon his decades of driving experience, as well as his observations as a passenger, pedestrian, and teacher, in this guide to becoming a safer, more courteous driver. Whether you are a parent helping to teach a teenager who is learning to drive safely, or you wish to become a safer driver, you are very likely to benefit from SANE DRIVING IN A MAD WORLD.

Learn about newer safety advances and how to pick a safer car. Learn how to best handle a traffic stop, an accident, or one on the side of the road, a stalled car, a car on fire, and how to share the road with trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians. Protect yourself and those you care about by arming yourself with the information you need to be a sane driver in a mad world.

Critique: Sane Driving in a Mad World: Driving Safety, Courtesy, and Responsibility is a "must-read" for drivers of all skill and experience levels, and especially for novice drivers or individuals working toward earning their driver's license. Chapters address how to pick the safest car, vehicle maintenance recommendations, tips to avoid carjacking, lifelong driving habits one should adopt to minimize the risk of crashes, and much more. "When approaching your car, it is easier to look under a high vehicle such as an SUV, pickup trick, or a van, from a distance, than it is to do this when you are up close. Some attackers and carjackers have actually hidden under vehicles. Along those lines, it is important to park in well lit, busy spaces, rather than isolated, dimly lit, and remote areas of a parking lot." Sane Driving in a Mad World is worthy of the highest recommendation to both personal and public library collections, as its recommendations can literally save lives. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Sane Driving in a Mad World is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

Learn to Drive Like a Pro
Anthony J. Scotti
PhotoGraphics Publishing
9780982973004, $17.95, PB, 170pp,

Synopsis: The text of "Learn to Drive Like a Pro: Lessons for Smart and Skillful Driving by a Leading Defensive Driving Trainer" covers basic to advance driving techniques. Readers will learn everything from how to adjust and use the mirrors properly to the downright exciting, like how to handle various kinds of skids braking skids, cornering skids, power skids.

Mastering these skills means learning to operate the vehicle in a manner that will keep you and your passengers safe and secure, but if an emergency develops, you'll be able to handle it with confidence and skill.

Emergencies covered include such situations as: what to do if a tire blows; how to make adjustments for driving at night; how to handle basic accident situations involving oncoming cars; entering and merging onto highways, cars ahead; what to do if the car starts to hydroplane, if the accelerator sticks, or if the brakes fail; how to figure out safe following distances in varying weather and road conditions, and how to use ABS and non-ABS brakes.

Critique: For 39 years Anthony (Tony) Scotti has trained governments, corporations, law enforcement agencies and military organizations to avoid vehicle violence. His training programs have been conducted in over 33 countries on five continents. In "Learn to Drive Like a Pro: Lessons for Smart and Skillful Driving by a Leading Defensive Driving Trainer" he successfully draws upon his years of experience and expertise to provide a thoroughly 'user friendly' instructional resource written in an inviting conversational style and filled with an abundance of easy-access bulleted lists, driving scenarios, photographs, and illustrations. Very highly recommended for community library collections, and a useful addition to highschool Driver Education curriculum materials, "Learn to Drive Like a Pro: Lessons for Smart and Skillful Driving by a Leading Defensive Driving Trainer" should be considered a 'must' for all novice drivers -- and will prove to be invaluable as a refresher resource for even seasoned drivers seeking to enhance their skill levels behind the wheel.

The Parenting Shelf

Common Sense for Our Common Good
Jim Baumann
PO Box 45, Teton Village, WY 83025
9780692439128, $14.95, PB, 118pp,

Synopsis: "Common Sense For Our Common Good: A Parent Guide To Good Schools" is about how we, as parents, can most effectively support our children and our children's school. This takes both individual passion and collective commitment. But it also takes some basic knowledge about what a good school, public or private, looks and feels like. Supporting our children and our children's school is not just the right thing to do but also the most sensible and productive thing to do as a community and as a country. Public and/or private education is a thoughtful and prudent investment in the brilliance and potential in our children and all other children. -- and one which will reap human and societal benefits both today and into the future.

Critique: Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone, instructive in content, and 'real world practical' in the organization and presentation of thematically relevant information, "Common Sense for Our Common Good: A Parent Guide to Good Schools" is an impressively informative and effective instructional reference guide and manual for successful parental involvement their children's schools for maximum educational and intellectual results from Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade. Of special note is the featuring of blank note pages so that the reader's ideas and emphasized tips can be recorded. While very highly recommended for all parents who are dedicated to the proposition that their children should have the best education possible, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Common Sense for Our Common Good: A Parent Guide to Good Schools" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).

The Education Shelf

SOS! Save Our Students
Lori Bitar
Lulu Publishing
3101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-5436
9781483457093, $14.99, PB, 110pp,

Synopsis: Educational expert Lori Bitar draws upon her years of experience and expertise to write "SOS! Save Our Students: Solutions for Schools, Staff, Students, Stakeholders, & Society " for educators and education policy makers who feel overwhelmed by educational demands, stuck in a classroom where they feel unappreciated, and those who are frustrated with their students. Lori presents solutions to chronic and commonly encountered problems, showing class room teachers how to unleash their own inner super-Hero and save themselves and their students from academic, social, and fiscally-based school facility systemic failures.

"SOS! Save Our Students" is comprised of illustrative stories and 'real world practical' solutions that deftly illustrate how to re-frame, shape, and unleash specific behaviors to help students, staff, and schools experience success by tapping into social emotional learning competencies.

H: Do your actions/behaviors help, not hinder? E: Do your actions/behaviors engage, not exclude? R: Do your actions/behaviors resuscitate, not ruin? O: Do your actions/behaviors overjoy, not obliterate? Of special note is the book club discussion guide in the back of "SOS! Save Our Students" that will personally aid in making improvements and supporting the Professional Learning Community.

Critique: Informed and informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, applicable to teachers working at all grade levels K-12, college, and university, "SOS! Save Our Students" is an especially recommended addition to academic library and school district Teacher Education collections and supplemental studies reading lists. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "SOS! Save Our Students" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Found In Time
J. K. Kelly
J.K. Kelly Consulting LLC
9780999409909, $11.99, PB, 318pp,

Synopsis: Two extraordinary warriors take on the challenge of battling their country's enemies in today's complex world. Why do they believe they will succeed where others have failed? They possess a new top-secret weapon -- the ability to travel back in time. Major J.J. Jackson, a highly decorated Marine whose focus in life is to seek & destroy terrorists, is tasked by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to test the revolutionary technology that promises the U.S. a military and political edge over foreign and domestic threats. When JJ goes rogue and asks a higher power to save the woman he loves everyone's lives will be changed forever. General Dick Stewart, Chairman of JCS, oversees the program they are hiding from a contentious White House and the CIA. As a supporter of JJ's career since the death of the younger man's parents, Stewart must watch his own back as he tries to look after the Major and his eclectic group of patriots. For JJ's team of six men and women, time travel becomes their magic bullet. But when a new American President comes under siege, those who were 'Found In Time' must lock and load. The team will need to ratchet up their aggression to defeat the most dangerous enemies the country has ever seen and this time it will be on American soil.

Critique: A truly riveting read from cover to cover, "Found In Time" reveals author J. K. Kelly's genuine flair for originality and a deftly crafted novel that is unreservedly recommended for community library Science Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of science fiction action/adventure fans that "Found In Time" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Poetry Shelf

Bite Into The Moon
Ellen Cooney
Duir Press
9780960291212, $15.00, PB, 104pp

Synopsis: Born on June 23, 1948, Ellen Cooney has been a student of mythology, history, and early music. She is also the author of nine books of poetry published by Duir Press. "Bite Into The Moon" is compendium of her freelance verse, with several of the her poems having a reference or theme of the moon. 'The Full Round Moon': the full round moon is / music a whole note a / praise song S/He sings / to the Infinite.

Critique: One of the oldest forms of the literary arts, poetry (the term derives from a variant of the Greek term, poiesis, "making") is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre, to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning. At its very best a poem, whether adhering to a rhyming rhythm or in a free verse format, should evoke within the reader some emotional or cognitive resonance. And Ellen Cooney has a genuine flair for dong just that with her current collections, "Bite Into The Moon". Offering poems that are timeless, thought-provoking, and genuinely original, "Bite Into The Moon" is unreservedly recommended for the personal reading lists of dedicated poetry buffs, as well as community and academic Contemporary American Poetry collections.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Makers of Modern Christian Social Thought
Pope Leo XIII & Abraham Kuyper, authors
Jordan J. Ballor, editor
Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty
9781942503453, $14.95, PB, 158pp,

Synopsis: Pope Leo XIII's encyclical on the relationship between capital and labor (Rerum Novarum) and Abraham Kuyper's speech to the first Christian Social Congress ("The Social Question and the Christian Religion"), both published in 1891, are foundational sources for subsequent Christian social thought in their respective traditions, both Roman Catholic and Reformed.

Deftly edited by Jordan J. Ballor, "Makers of Modern Christian Social Thought" is a volume that has been published in celebration of the 125th anniversary of these two landmark publications, and includes authoritative English translations of these works and an introduction that outlines their context and significance.

The thought of these two theologians (one an Italian scholar-pope and the other a Dutch Reformed pastor, professor, and politician) provide enduring wisdom for developing and articulating a Christian witness in the modern world.

Critique: Timely and timeless, "Makers of Modern Christian Social Thought" is impressively well organized and presented, thoughtful and thought-provoking, inspired and inspiring -- making it unreservedly recommended for seminary and academic library Christian Theology collections and supplemental studies reading lists.

The Economic Studies Shelf

Economic Crisis & Solutions
Theodore D. Kafkas, J.D.
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781544223056, $19.95, PB, 276pp,

The recent economic crisis popular known as 'The Great Recession' still continues for selected elements of our population that are accounted as blue collar and white collar workers. One of the main causes of the economic crisis is the huge employment bubble which is the result of technology changes and population growth. We saw this before with the Industrial Age and the Great Depression. Now, we are seeing an economic crisis with the Information Age.

The Federal Reserve and our U.S. government are not correctly dealing with these effects. The bank bailouts and the approx. 20 trillion dollars of official U.S. debt have not corrected the problems. More, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government are not just mishandling our economic crisis. Instead, history shows us that the existence and power of the secret Federal Reserve, and our U.S. government's spending, are also large causes of our economic crisis.

None of the recommended governmental economic policy reforms that were recommended to correct the bank deregulation mistakes have been made, leaving us vulnerable to the next economic 'bubble' burst. Then there are the mysterious Plunge Protection Team, petrodollar, BRICS, world banking, and other issues that affect our economy.

All of these issues are analyzed by Theodore D. Kafkas (an attorney in Wisconsin with more than 20 years of legal experience) in "Economic Crisis & Solutions: Unemployment Bubble, Technology, Federal Reserve and Government". If uncorrected, some these issues will reoccur plunging us back into a catastrophic economic crisis.

Basically, our best hope to avoid this looming catastrophe is are the solutions proffered in the pages of "Economic Crisis & Solutions: Unemployment Bubble, Technology, Federal Reserve and Government".

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Economic Crisis & Solutions: Unemployment Bubble, Technology, Federal Reserve and Government" is as impressively informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. The solutions proffered are 'real world practical' if the political will to implement them can be mustered by a ground swell of public support that will be more compelling to our politicians than their corporate donors. Unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Economics collections and supplemental studies lists, it should be noted for economic students and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Economic Crisis & Solutions: Unemployment Bubble, Technology, Federal Reserve and Government" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

The Self-Help Shelf

Peacock Dreaming: The Wisdom of Flowers
Anne McCormack
Balboa Press AU
c/o Hay House, Inc.
PO Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100
9781504307765, $21.99 PB / $3.99 Kindle, 66pp,

Synopsis: In times of inner turmoil (or when simply needing some extra guidance and support) "Peacock Dreaming: The Wisdom of Flowers" by Anne McCormack will helps the reader to develop, nurture, and trust their intuition, steering them toward the discovery of new insights and greater awareness on this journey through life. Prefaced by the story of the antics of the Anne's pair of peacocks, and the dream that led to the book's eventual birth, "Peacock Dreaming" contains 42 beautifully captured photographs of flowers and plants from the South Island of New Zealand. Each individual image invites a meditation on its own unique attributes and discover the learnings and insights that arise from the reader's own intuition and subconscious. While each image is accompanied by inspirational writing, the reader is invited to explore and interpret for themself.

Critique: Inherently fascinating, life-affirming, inspired and inspiring read from beginning to end, "Peacock Dreaming" is unreservedly recommended to the attention of readers seeking personal insights, and unreservedly recommended for community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Peacock Dreaming" is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Blood Run
Jamie Freveletti
9780983506713,$16.00, PB, 360pp,

Synopsis: Biochemist Emma Caldridge joins Jackson Rand, pharmaceutical CEO, on a humanitarian mission to deliver vaccines to remote villages in Africa. But after narrowly escaping a crew of trained assassins, Emma realizes that there is more to this mission than she anticipated. Rand is keeping secrets from her, information that could cost both of them their lives... not to mention millions more.

After its eradication nearly forty years ago, the smallpox virus is once again threatening the world. With no known cure and limited stores of vaccine, the highly contagious, deadly and disfiguring disease has the power to wipe out entire cities. Rand's company was hired to secure the last known vials, but some have gone missing in Africa and a ruthless government now hunts them for use as a biochemical weapon.

Emma must locate these vials before the killer plague is unleashed on the innocent, ravaging a world that never expected to see it again. She runs to the border, finding and freeing hostages as she does. But an insurgency is rising around them, blocking their every attempt to escape. Surrounded and with no choice but to head to the desert, Emma must stop the virus and lead her ragtag team to freedom... if the Sahara doesn't kill them first.

Critique: The newest novel in author Jamie Freveletti's simply outstanding Emma Caldridge series, "Blood Run" is a deftly crafted, consistently compelling and inherently entertaining read from cover to cover. While very highly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Blood Run" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Seeing Red
Heidi Brod
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781524691769, $26.99, HC, 204pp,

Synopsis: The birth of her child, Sky, is a trigger for Seraphine Swift-Whitlock as she is once again haunted by nightmares and flashbacks from the night she was attacked. She thought she was alone, but someone had followed her home. She could still hear his whisper cut through the darkness of the night before the ground rose up and her head hit the pavement and everything faded to black.

She thought that when she married Harper Swift, she would escape her troubled past; but instead, she is haunted by a deadly secret that won't stay buried and a jigsaw puzzle of feelings and images that threatens to tear her world apart.

When a college student is murdered and the gruesome crime scene parallels what happened that night on the streets of Boston, it's Harper that's put on the case.

As more bodies surface, Seraphine is thrown back into a labyrinth of darkness, once again fighting for her life. Frightened and desperate, she has to get stronger and learn to fight if she's going to be able to save her beautiful baby girl, Sky, and the only man she's ever loved.

The characters are all intertwined and pawns in a game as Seraphine tries desperately to unravel the mystery behind the murders before the killer is back to finish what he started.

Critique: Showcasing an extraordinary talent for narrative driven suspense, author Heidi Brod's novel "Seeing Red" is a deftly crafted and inherently gripping read from cover to cover. While unreservedly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Seeing Red" is also available in a paperback edition (9781524691752, $13.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

A Butler Christmas
Rahiem Brooks
Prodigy Gold Books
9781939665225, $14.99, PB, 282pp,

Synopsis: Butler, a rainmaker, has perfected the art of sentencing mitigation, as a partner with Manhattan power-firm, Baker and Keefe. He's the kind of captivating and accomplished man that therapists vent too. His bachelorhood is turned upside down when an old flame, Sinia Love, drops a seventeen-year-old son into his lap forcing him to balance this revelation and his budding romance with Brandy Scott. Professionally, Naim's assigned to prove a man's innocence of murder is filthy work itself, but catastrophic when an envious lover of Sinia Love's sets out to kill him while hiding amongst the glitterati of Manhattan's upper crust.

Critique: A truly riveting read from cover to cover, "A Butler Christmas" is a carefully crafted novel by a master of the genre. Clearly author Rahiem Brooks has a genuine flair for originality and deftly creating memorable characters. While "A Butler Christmas" is unreservedly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Romantic Suspense collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

The Fiction Shelf

Nadya's War
C. S. Taylor
Tiny Fox Press LLC
9781946501011, $14.95, PB, 293pp,

Synopsis: Set in the midst of World War II in the year 1942, Nadya "Little Boar" Buzina is a young pilot with the Red Army's 586th all-female fighter regiment who has just been thrust into the meat grinder. If she's to protect her homeland and survive the chaos, she's going to have to learn to trust her wingman explicitly. German aces, however, aren't the only ones threatening Nadya's life. She's crossed a vengeful political commissar who has launched an investigation into her past. Should he uncover her secret, Nadya will be lucky if she's executed on the spot.

Critique: With a genuine flair for crafting a complex and believable yesteryear of desperate war time conditions, a world populated by a roster of truly memorable characters, a time of lethal intrigue, a time in urgent need of heroes, C. S. Taylor's novel "Nadya's War" is a riveting read from cover to cover and will prove to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Nadya's War" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.95).

The Money/Finance Shelf

Advanced How to Become Money Workbook
Gary M. Douglas
Access Consciousness Publishing Company
9781634931052, $35.00, PB, 135pp,

Synopsis: The "Advanced How to Become Money Workbook" by Gary M. Douglas picks up where the original "How to Become Money Workbook" leaves off. It is full of more advanced questions and processes designed to facilitate the insane and limited points of view you have created around money and to create greater ease in your life -- with a lot more money and currency flows.

In a traditional workbook format, this thoroughly 'user friendly', do-it-yourself study is especially useful when asking such questions as: What if money was a vehicle to change the world?; What if you were willing to receive unlimited amounts of money?; What is money? (For some, money is cars; for some, money is houses; for some, money is security.);

But, is money any of those things? No, its not. Money is energy, just as are you energy. There is no difference between you and money except the points of view that you give it.

What if you could BE money? What if you could BE the energy that creates, generates, and produces money? If you could change your financial reality by looking at the points of view you have about money, would you choose to do so?

Critique: Extraordinarily informed and informative, impressively thoughtful and thought-provoking, exceptionally well organized and presented, "Advanced How to Become Money Workbook" is unreservedly recommended for anyone seeking to improve their understanding and management of money as a tool to create the kind of life they want to live and the kind of world they want to live in.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

100 Things Batman Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die
Joseph McCabe
Foreword by Paul Dini
Triumph Books
9781629373980 $14.95 pbk / $9.59 Kindle

Synopsis: Most Batman fans have enjoyed the Dark Knight in comics or on the big screen and are eagerly anticipating the release of the new Justice League movie. But only real fans know the other characters who have donned the cowl in place of Bruce Wayne, or know the full origin stories of those who make up the rogues gallery. 100 Things Batman Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die is the ultimate resource for true fans, whether you're a comic book collector, an aficionado of Christopher Nolan's films, or both! Joseph McCabe of has collected every essential piece of Dark Knight knowledge and trivia, as well as must-do activities, and ranks them all from 1 to 100, providing an entertaining and easy-to-follow checklist as you progress on your way to fan superstardom. Contains exclusive interviews with Batman creators!

Critique: Featuring a foreword by Paul Dini (producer of Batman: The Animated Series and co-creator of Harley Quinn), 100 Things Batman Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die is an unauthorized guide to Batman comics, movies, video games, live-action and animated television series, and much more. Each of the 100 sections focuses on a different Batman character, or other aspect of the Batman mythos (such as the Batarang), and examines little-known facets of its history and place in Batman's extensive saga. Interviews with a wide-variety of actors and creators connected to Batman, from Adam West and Burt Ward to Frank Miller, Will Arnett, and many more, round out this "must-have" for Batman fans! Highly recommended. It should be noted for personal reading lists that 100 Things Batman Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die is also available in a Kindle edition.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Life And Death Behind The Brick And Razor-Code Red Diamond
Isaac Alexis, MD
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781535347150, $25.00, PB, 108pp,

Synopsis: Jails, prisons and penitentiaries are responsible for not only the security of their inmates but their physical health as well. In "Life And Death Behind The Brick And Razor-Code Red Diamond", Doctor Isaac Alexis draws upon his years of personal experience and expertise in providing medical services in correctional facilities and his work as a Medical Director for the Department of Justice where he served as the Director of Infection Control and as Chairman of the Quality Improvement Medical Committee to provide an impressively informed and informative study that also includes incidents from his own family life, a wealth of 'Health & Wellness Tips', as well as 'real world practical' advice for assisting teenagers and young adults in dealing with such issues as STDs, drug addiction, gangs, and more. Of special note is the provision of definitions for medical terms.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Life And Death Behind The Brick And Razor-Code Red Diamond" is a unique and highly recommended addition to community, correctional facility, and academic library Health/Medicine collections in general, and Correctional Medicine supplemental studies reading lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of medical and correctional students, as well as non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Life And Death Behind The Brick And Razor-Code Red Diamond" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Beer Shelf

Session Beers: Brewing for Flavor and Balance
Jennifer Talley
Brewers Publications
9781938469411, $19.95, PB, 300pp,

Synopsis: Sharing a beer or two with friends after work or play is one of life's many joys. Session beers, whose mild strength invites more than one round, adhere to high quality standards and are dedicated to balance and drinkability above all.

Some naturally low-alcohol beer styles were "sessionable" long before that word was coined, but brewers have reinvented traditionally stronger classic beer styles to make them, too, well-suited to casual drinking sessions. Responsible consumption of these high-quality, easy-drinking beers gives beer lovers the freedom to celebrate community and friendship while consuming less alcohol.

Such beers can be challenging to brew, but they present many opportunities to showcase skill, flavor, and refreshment. "Session Beers" explores the history behind some of the world's greatest session beers, past and present. Aspiring brewers will learn about the brewing processes and ingredients to master recipe development.

With "Session Beers: Brewing for Flavor and Balance" readers will explore popular craft session beer recipes from some of the best brewmasters in America, and discover why beer drinkers enjoy exploring and drinking session beers.

Critique: Deftly written, organized and presented, "Session Beers: Brewing for Flavor and Balance" is thoroughly 'reader friendly' in tone and substanced. "Session Beers: Brewing for Flavor and Balance" will prove to be an enduringly popular and valued addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library instructional reference collections on brewing. It should be noted for personal reading lists that 'Session Beers: Brewing for Flavor and Balance" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Activity Shelf

AKA Associates, Inc.

Synopsis: One of the most popular and widespread recreational pastimes, a crossword is a word puzzle that usually takes the form of a square or a rectangular grid of white- and black-shaded squares. The game's goal is to fill the white squares with letters, forming words or phrases, by solving clues which lead to the answers. In languages that are written left-to-right, the answer words and phrases are placed in the grid from left to right and from top to bottom. The shaded squares are used to separate the words or phrases.

Three new collections of crossword puzzles by Charles Preston (who is the Crossword Puzzle Editor of USA Today and Dow Jones's National Observer for over a decade, as well as a distinguished crossword puzzle expert who has compiled more than 100 puzzle books) are now available from AKA Associates for dedicated crossword puzzle enthusiasts.

"Classic Crossword Puzzles: Features 100 Favorite Puzzles: Volume 1" (9780998832210, $9.95, PB, 126pp) is a new collection to challenge the most cunning crossword connoisseur. These puzzles are both challenging and edifying. These puzzles combine intriguing vocabulary with clever clues to test your knowledge on a wide variety of subjects including classical themes and contemporary pop culture. From boats and literary excursions to outer space and culinary adventures, "Classic Crossword Puzzles" will provide many hours of reasoning and repose.

"Crossword Puzzle Treasury: Features 100 Entertaining Puzzles: Volume 1" (9780998832227, $9.95, PB, 126pp) is comprised of mind-bending puzzles in an entertaining collection are the same size as those found in daily newspapers -- making it ideal for those who don't have time to solve a large puzzle but still love a challenge. They combine intriguing vocabulary with clever clues to test your knowledge on a wide variety of subjects. From "Let's Party" and "Plenty of Fish to Fry" to "So Long!" and "Sty-lish Phrases," -- "Crossword Puzzle Treasury" will provide many hours of enjoyment.

"Quote Acrostic Favorites: Features 50 Rewarding Puzzles: Volume 1" (9780998832234, $9.95, PB, 70pp) comprised of 50 favorite acrostics that reveal wise and witty sayings on lessons learned, enjoying life, and the value of experience, crossword enthusiasts will enjoy cracking the clues in the word column; transferring them to the diagram; and discovering quotations from people like Dave Barry, Lord Byron, Willa Cather, Pat Conroy, Gloria Steinem, and more. Of special note are the puzzles on such diverse topics as "Freedom at Last," "No Guess Work Here," and "Observations"!

Critique: An absolute 'must' for all dedicated crossword puzzle fans, these three simply outstanding collections by a true master game maker is unreservedly recommended and a guaranteed source of hours upon hours upon hours of challenging entertainment -- and will leave crossword enthusiasts looking eagerly toward the next volume in each of these three truly exceptional collections!

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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